Peer Pressure

Peer – a person who has equal standing with another as in rank, class or age.There are examples in the Bible of people who were pressured to follow the crowd:
1 Samuel 13:5-13 and 15:17-24. Who did King Saul fear and listen to? What was the result?John 12:42-43. Why didn’t the Jewish rulers who believed in Jesus confess him openly?

Luke 23:13-24. Why did Governor Pilate do what the the Jewish chief priests, rulers, and people asked him to do even though he knew it was wrong?

The people in these examples were authority figures. Do you think authority figures today bend to peer pressure?

Read the following verses and paraphrase them:
John 5:39-44 ‘
Romans 12:2
1 Corinthians 7:23 .
Galatians 1:10
There are examples of people in the Bible who obeyed God when they were under pressure to obey other people:
Genesis 39:1-21. What happened to Joseph when he refused his masters wife’s advances? How did God reward Joseph’s obedience?
Genesis 41:38-43.

Acts 4:1-31. Who was putting pressure on Peter and John? (4:1)
What did they do to Peter and John? (4:3)How did Peter receive strength to resist the pressure? (4:8) What reason did Peter and John give for refusing to obey the church leaders? Why were Peter and John released? (4:21) What did the Christians pray for? (4:29) How was their prayer answered? (4:31)

Acts 5:14-42. How did the Jewish authorities try to silence the apostles? (5:18). Who did the apostles obey? (5:19-21). Who were the captain and officers afraid of? (5:26). Peter and the apostles told the Council that they would obey rather than __ and that they had been given the ______ (5:29,32). Whose advice prevented the Council from killing the apostles? (5:34)
Who was the Council afraid they might possibly be opposing?
Why did the apostles, who had just been flogged and ordered to
stop talking about Jesus, rejoice? (5:41) Did they keep quiet about Jesus? (5:42)

Jesus told us to “enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.” It is much easier to go along with the crowd, satisfying the desires of our sinful flesh, then to obey God.

What are some temptations to obey man rather than God that are
common today?
Galatians 5:19-21 lists “deeds of the flesh” that those without God’s Spirit are involved in. How does this list compare to your answer to the above question?

There have been times when we have gone along with the wrong crowd and done things that we are ashamed of. We have disobeyed God and need to admit our sin. That’s why we need the forgiveness that Jesus offers us through His death on the cross and the strength that the living Christ offers to give us (just as he gave it to the apostles) through His Spirit.

It is important to ask God to help us discern right from wrong. Your peers may be acting according to God’s will. If so, join them. Paul praises the Christians in Thessalonica for following him and his co-workers. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, 2:3-14

How was it evident that the things that Paul and his friends
were doing were “God pleasing”?
Galatians 5:22-26 lists the “fruit of the Spirit” that those with God’s Spirit possess. How does this list compare to your answer to the above question?

How would you respond to the following situations? The group I’m with expects me to:
Go to an X-rated movie
Laugh at dirty jokes or look at pornographic material
Join in making fun of someone or slandering someone
Lie about something so someone else won’t get into trouble
Do something illegal that everyone else is doing

How can I give a Christian witness in any of these or similiar situations? Here are some suggestions:
“I can’t do that because I’m concerned about what God wants me to do.
“I’m a Christian / I belong to Jesus and I can’t do that.
“It would be against my conscience as a Christian to do that.

If I give a response like one of those above it is a witness to my faith. Some may respect me and want to know more about Jesus. Others may reject me, perhaps point out areas of sin in my life.

“Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as follow ers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say.” 1 Peter 3:14-16

In some cases it might be appropriate to suggest a creative alternative, encourage the group to focus on something that would positive instead of negative.

Instead of accusing others of being wrong, it is better to point out that what they want to do is wrong and, like Gamaliel, warn them of the consequences.

It is important to be mentally prepared to stand alone. Jesus did it when the crowd arrested him (even his best friends ran away). But don’t forget God’s invitation,
“Call to me in times of trouble.
I will save you, and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:15, Hebrews 13:5

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